Left-leaning Website Covers Traver Nomination

The lefty website, TPMMuckraker posted a story ridiculing the NRA’s opposition to Andrew Traver as head of ATF. They titled the story NRA Opposes Obama’s ATF Nominee Because They Googled Him.

In the article they posted a video interview of Chris Cox, NRA-ILA head, on Cam & Company. They say:

According to his interview with the NRA-sponsored radio program, Cox’s opposition to Traver is based on Internet searches from when Traver’s name was first floated over the summer.

“I sat at my computer when this guy’s name was first brought up and Googled him,” Cox said, encouraging listeners to do so themselves.

For this story they also interview Paul Helmke, head of the Brady Center, who said:

“That’s just guilt by association to the first degree,” Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence told TPM. “If you sit down in a room with the chiefs of police that the Joyce Foundation put on, you’re automatically suspect. They didn’t even go to the content of what was in any of these recommendations.”

Well, heck, I did the same thing – only sooner. Back in July I started doing Google searches for Andrew Traver and found what was available on him.

And actually, it was quite a bit. I found out what fellow ATF agents thought of him, I found out how he cozied up to politicians, I found out that he made a habit of working with anti-gun organizations such as the Joyce Foundation and the IACP, I found out that he was a cancer survivor, I found pictures of his wife and sons (which I didn’t post), I found news clips of him at press conferences with then-Representative Mark Kirk who is anti-gun, and I could go on.

I’m not an “accredited or authorized” journalist so I could not just call Andy or the White House up to ask about the status of his pending nomination and expect to get an answer. Google and the Internet were the only ways to gather the info I sought.

That said, there are questions to which I would like answers. For example, I’d like to see Andrew Traver’s full military record including his fitness reports. He represents that he was ranked third in his Officer Candidate School class and was a honor graduate of the Surface Warfare Officer School. The normal officer service commitment upon commissioning is three to five years. Yet Traver seems to have served a shorter time period than this. If he was 44 years old in 2008 when diagnosed with prostate cancer and joined the ATF in 1987, this would mean he was approximately 23 years old when he left the U.S. Navy to join ATF. Assuming he was 21 when he graduated Northern Illinois University, that would give him two or maybe the minimum three years of service.

Moreover, why would he give up what seemed to be a promising Navy career to join a backwater Treasury Department agency. The 1980s were the Reagan years and the Navy was expanding towards a 600 ship Navy. They needed officers as well as men to run those ships. The ATF didn’t have (and still doesn’t have) the law enforcement reputation that you’d find in the FBI or the Secret Service.

If Traver ever does get to confirmation hearings and isn’t made a recess appointment, I hope some Senator or their staffer asks those questions. Plus a whole lot more.


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